Jenna Van Hout
Jenna Van Hout is an independent designer & artist in the Bay Area

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What is our "movement?"

On a recent family trip, Thomas' father had asked us how the art that we are making in the Bay Area right now will be remembered. It was more of a rhetorical question at the time, but one that I've been thinking about. There is plenty of documentation and memory around the Beats or the Post-Impressionists, for example. I've realized that the bizarre parties that Dali and his pals the Surrealists hosted seem somewhat similar to the type of fun we are producing here in my Bay Area community of artists and weirdos.

I was surprised to think of what we are doing as a thing of cultural relevance, in a historical sense. But maybe its something to consider.  

However, one of the key differences may be that the output of our community is far less lasting and precious. For example, the output of a writer is novels, letters and journals. A painter has canvases and sculpture to hang in galleries and sit in archives. But what we make are experiences, weekends and moments—that happen for a duration of time, and then disappear into our collective memories—and you can't hang those on a wall. 

The art of experience is precious yet fleeting—the Mx. Multiverse party was a beauty pageant for which attendees created their own universes or alternate realities to conceptualize and radically challenge what "beauty" means. But no one takes their costume and puts it on a mannequin to save for the ages. We tear down the microverses that were built for one night only and repurpose the flowers and cages for another time.

We may attempt to document our work, but I fear that for every art movement that is remembered and celebrated, there must be dozens that are forgotten and live on only in the polaroids and memories of its own participants—because, well, you really shoulda been there, man. 

But maybe thats the beauty of it? To live in the moment, be fully present, and know that this very moment will never happen again and will not be able to be shared or transferred through history—so let's make the most of what we have right now in this very time and place. 

Perhaps its grandiose to think that our art can be compared to that of the great artists of history, but I do feel that ALL artists—whether they achieve lasting fame and legacy or not—are the heroes responsible for creating the magic that our world desperately needs—whether they are acknowledged for it or not.